Across the world, and with each passing year, more communities are becoming more educated on the value tree populations have on their environments. As a result, organizations are formed, council is held, and education programs are established. Harris County, approximate to Houston, Texas earlier this month created a new edge on the more widespread theme of bolstering the urban tree population. Their solution: make it a competition!

Over the course of two and a half hours, 20 teams convened at the Flood Control District’s Hollister Stormwater Detention Basin, and planted over 2,000 new trees on the banks.

“This basin has gone from being almost bare to a thriving, developing forest,” said Nic Griffin, the Harris County Flood Control District’s Tree Planting and Establishment Coordinator.  “The Houston Area Urban Forestry Council’s Annual Tree Planting Competition has brought great things to this basin as well as several others in Harris County. We appreciate all of the volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules every year to make this happen.”

With this year’s event being the 9th Annual Tree Planting Competition, the benefits and success of the trees planted in 2014 and 2015 were amply evident. Most of the 2014 trees were at least twice their original size, and the 2015 trees were not far behind in health and growth rates.

As reported in last week’s online news release, “The Flood Control District provided pines, oaks, elms, bald cypress and other species for the 9th annual competition, which took place at the Hollister Basin, just south of White Oak Bayou at the intersection of West Little York and Hollister roads. The 11-member teams completed in professional, amateur and student divisions to see which team could plant 100 trees in the shortest amount of time – using only hand tools.”

The new trees, which come from its own tree nursery since 2003, “will help prevent erosion, improve water quality, decrease maintenance costs and beautify the Hollister basin, one of more than 130 stormwater detention basins in Harris County maintained by the Flood Control District.” Tree species are selected from the 6,000-10,000 trees in varying states of maturity and growth housed by the nursery.

“With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure.”